** 2016 Appeal ** In order to extend our coverage of climate zones, we’ve identified around 700 plants to add to our database. To do this properly and at the same time improve the usability of our website we need extra funds in addition to our regular level of income. more >>

   Bookmark and Share
    By donating to PFAF, you can help support and expand our activities
    Plant Suppliers: Click here for a List
Leptospermum scoparium - J.R.Forst.&G.Forst.                
Common Name Tea Tree, Broom teatree, Manuka, New Zealand Tea Tree
Family Myrtaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Many habitats in lowland to alpine areas, North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands[44]. Rocky and sandy heathland, often by streams[260].
Range Australia and New Zealand
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun

Bloom Color: Pink, Red. Main Bloom Time: Early spring, Late spring, Mid spring. Form: Irregular or sprawling, Rounded.

Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of shrub
Leptospermum scoparium is an evergreen Shrub growing to 5 m (16ft) by 3 m (9ft) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to June. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Leptospermum scoparium Tea Tree, Broom teatree, Manuka, New Zealand  Tea Tree

Leptospermum scoparium Tea Tree, Broom teatree, Manuka, New Zealand  Tea Tree
Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Hedge;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Manna.
Edible Uses: Tea.

The fresh, pungent leaves are a fragrant and refreshing tea substitute[144, 153, 183]. Of excellent quality, in taste trials this species has often received higher marks than the traditional China tea obtained from Camellia sinensis[K]. It is important to brew the leaves for considerably longer than normal teas to ensure the flavour is released into the water[K]. A sweet manna is sometimes exuded from the stems as a result of insect damage[153, 173]. Another report says that manna is reported to form on the leaves[183].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None known
Other Uses
Dye;  Hedge;  Hedge;  Insecticide;  Roofing;  Wood.

This species can be grown as a hedge in the milder areas of Britain[200] and is reasonably tolerant of maritime exposure. Plants should not be trimmed back into old wood, however, because they do not regenerate from such treatment. A yellow-green dye is obtained from the flowers, branches and leaves[168]. A greenish-black dye is obtained from the flowers[168]. Source of an insecticide[153] (no further details). Wood - red, strong, elastic. Used for inlay work, cabinet making etc[61]. The bark is used for roofing huts[61].
Cultivation details                                         
Landscape Uses:Border, Screen, Seashore. Succeed in almost any neutral or acid soil of good or reasonable quality[200], preferring a light sandy loam and full sun[200]. Succeeds in dry soils. Prefers a position sheltered from hot or cold drying winds. We have found the plants to be fairly tolerant of maritime exposure[K]. The plant only succeeds outdoors in the milder areas of Britain. Hardy to about -10°c, succeeding outdoors in most of Southern Britain[184]. A polymorphic species, many forms have been developed for their ornamental value[182]. There are some dwarf varieties that grow very well in pots in cold greenhouses and conservatories[260]. Resents root disturbance. Plants do not regenerate from old wood[200]. The bruised leaves and the flowers are pleasantly aromatic[219, 245]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Special Features: Not North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and give some protection from the cold for their first winter or two outdoors. The seed remains viable for many years. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 - 8 cm with a heel, early August in a frame. Over-winter in the greenhouse for its first year. Good percentage[78]. Cuttings of almost mature wood, 4 - 5 cm with a heel, October/November in a frame. Good percentage[78].
Related Plants                                         
Plant Suppliers: Click here for a List

      You can download this page as a PDF

Expert comment                                         
Botanical References                                         
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[44]Allan. H. H. Flora of New Zealand.
The standard work, in 3 volumes though only the first two are of interest to the plant project. Very good on habitats.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[78]Sheat. W. G. Propagation of Trees, Shrubs and Conifers.
A bit dated but a good book on propagation techniques with specific details for a wide range of plants.
[144]Cribb. A. B. and J. W. Wild Food in Australia.
A very good pocket guide.
[153]Brooker. S. G., Cambie. R. C. and Cooper. R. C. Economic Native Plants of New Zealand.
An interesting and readable book on the useful plants of New Zealand.
[168]Grae. I. Nature's Colors - Dyes from Plants.
A very good and readable book on dyeing.
[173]Crowe. A. Native Edible Plants of New Zealand.
A very well written and illustrated book based on the authors own experiments with living on a native diet.
[182]Thomas. G. S. Ornamental Shrubs, Climbers and Bamboos.
Contains a wide range of plants with a brief description, mainly of their ornamental value but also usually of cultivation details and varieties.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[184]Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Shrubs.
Excellent photographs and a terse description of 1900 species and cultivars.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[219]Grey-Wilson. C. & Matthews. V. Gardening on Walls
A nice little book about plants for growing against walls and a small section on plants that can grow in walls.
[245]Genders. R. Scented Flora of the World.
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
[260]Phillips. R. & Rix. M. Conservatory and Indoor Plants Volumes 1 & 2
Excellent photos of over 1,100 species and cultivars with habits and cultivation details plus a few plant uses. Many species are too tender for outdoors in Britain though there are many that can be grown outside.

Readers comment                                         
Elizabeth H.
Elizabeth Webber Wed Aug 23 2006
The tea tree is used medicinally as a antiseptic. You can buy tea tree oil in many shops to use on cuts and on blemishes.
Elizabeth H.
Guillaume hue Thu Sep 28 2006
There seems to be so many tee trees (including melaleuca species)! Which is the commercialised one ?
Elizabeth H.
Ken Fern Fri Sep 29 2006
There are two very different plants that have the common name of tea tree. The genus Leptospermum, particularly L. scoparium, is used for making cups of tea - a very tasty alternative to China tea. The genus Melaleuca, especially M. alternifolia and M. hypericifolia, produces the essential oil so often used medicinally and as an anti-fungal agent.
Elizabeth H.
Paul Watts, Plant breeder Sat Oct 28 2006
'Manuka' honey made from pollen collected from L. scoparium has proven antisceptic qualities. Details from the Honey Research unit of the university of Waikato. (Prof Peter Molan)
Elizabeth H.
Charles Rodgers Tue Nov 28 2006
There are two main commercial "tea trees". Leptospermum scoparium (Manuka) and Melaleuca alternifolia (often refered to as Australian tea tree). There are of course many other species of tea tree (over 80 species in the Leptospermum Genus). Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil gained popularity for its anti-microbial properties and is now used in many products. Since the early 1990's microbial challenge testing of New Zealand "East Cape" chemotype Manuka has shown that the anti-microbial activity of its essential oil is often greater than that of Melaleuca alternifolia. The focus on the essential oils is only half the story however (and I'm surprised that this as not been included in the "Medicinal Rating" on this site). New Zealand Maori medicine has a long tradition of Manuka use - and not just the volatile oil fractions. Fresh plant or ethanolic tincture of the flowers and leaves contain not only the volatile oils but Tannins, Triterpine Acids and its derivatives, and Flavonoids. It is used both internally and topically for the following actions: Astringent, Antidiarrhoeal, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Anti-inflammatory, Antispasmodic, a mild Sedative, Anxiolytic, Diuretic, Febrifuge, and Diaphoretic. Medically it is used internally for: Diarrhoea, Indigestion, Colic, Irritable bowel syndrome, Dyspepsia, Fevers, Coughs, Colds, Influenza, Urinary conditions, and Anxiety. Topically it is used for: Bacterial and Fungal infections, Wounds, Cuts, Sores, Slow healing ulcers, Eczema and Inflammatory Skin Conditions. A versatile phyto medicine. N.B. Manuka should not be taken internally without the advice of a trained professional. In excess it can be toxic. (Authored by: English degree trained Medical Herbalist currently residing in New Zealand. I declare no conflict of interest.)
Elizabeth H.
Ken Fern, Plants for a Future Tue Feb 20 2007
The following is an extract from a medicinal herb info sheet I produced on this species. The principle active constituent in the leaves is an essential oil, whilst triterpenoids and flavonoids have also been isolated. The oil varies considerably in its make-up depending on the area in which the plant is growing, nine different chemotypes having been identified. A form in the East Cape of New Zealand has the strongest antibacterial action and so is more suitable for medicinal use. A South Island form has a high geraniol and linalol content and is more suitable for perfumery. The essential oil has been shown to be an effective antimicrobial with broad-spectrum action. Studies in New Zealand, for example, have shown that the plant can destroy the Heliobacter bacterium that is implicated in peptic and duodenal ulcers. The oil is made up of several components including cineole which is a stimulating expectorant when taken internally and is a mild anaesthetic and antiseptic when used externally. Limonene has an expectorant and antiviral action. Pinene and cymene have a powerful antiseptic action. Linalool is a powerful antimicrobial, whilst it also has effective sedative effects and is rapidly absorbed through the skin and nasal mucosa. The principle medical actions of the leaves and young shoots can be summarized as follows:- • It is a very effective antimicrobial, comparable to the essential oil obtained from the TEA TREE (Melaleuca alternifolia). It has proved effective against a very wide range of pathogens, in particular, streptococci and staphylococcal bacteria and fungi that affect the skin. • It has mild pain-relieving properties and, when applied topically, has anaesthetic properties. • It has mild sedative properties. • It promotes the flow of perspiration in a fever. This actually has a cooling effect upon the body whilst also aiding in the elimination of toxins via the perspiration. • It has a stimulatory effect upon the immune system. • It is anti-inflammatory. • It promotes the expectoration of catarrh from the respiratory tract. MANUKA is a very effective antimicrobial and has a range of therapeutic actions and medicinal uses similar to TEA TREE (Melaleuca alternifolia). It is very helpful in the treatment of a range of complaints of the respiratory system, especially where that is an over-production of catarrh. Conditions such as bronchitis, coughs, colds, asthma, whooping cough and pneumonia have all been shown to respond well to treatment. MANUKA’S antimicrobial action and ability to rid the system of catarrh make it a very effective treatment for complaints of the urinary tract such as cystitis and urethritis. It is also effective in treating intestinal complaints such as colitis, food poisoning and gastritis. Research has shown it to be helpful in cases of peptic and duodenal ulcers whilst it will also aid in the removal of intestinal parasites. MANUKA can be taken both internally and externally as a douche to treat vaginal conditions such as vaginitis, leucorrhoea and candida. It can be taken internally, or used as a mouthwash and gargle in treating gum infections, mouth ulcers, sore throats, tonsillitis and laryngitis. The essential oil is most commonly used externally, though a wash made from the leaves can also be employed. Its antimicrobial action makes it a most effective treatment for a range of skin conditions. In particular, it is used to treat fungal and other parasitic infections such as scabies and ringworm, bacterial infections such as abscesses, boils and impetigo, also viral infections such as herpes and warts. It is very helpful in relieving all manner of other skin conditions such as eczema and dandruff. It is an excellent application for nail infections, cuts, blisters and sores, whilst it soothes sunburn and will quickly relieve the discomfort of insect bites and stings. It can be rubbed over arthritic joints and aching muscles in order to relieve the pain. It has also been found helpful in conditions such as varicose ulcers, corns and bunions.
Elizabeth H.
Wed May 30 2007
Which hemisphere are we talking? . . . when speaking about which month is best for talking small "cuttings" or rather small torn off pieces of branch with a heel. Are we talking august thru december in the southern or northern hemisphere. Please specify!!! Mine did 50% rooting success in California w/o a greenhouse in January. Started indoors, they did not really start to form roots until May.
Elizabeth H.
val r Thu Jun 14 2007
. I have used tea tree oil for sunburn, cleaning cuts and in my bath to feel nice and clean. i have also used diluted mixed with diluted washing up liquid on rose bushes to treat blackspot and to kill aphids. ver helpfull i knew it had good uses and now my knowledge is increased thank you :-) v
QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.
Rate This Plant                                         
Please rate this plants for how successful you have found it to be. You will need to be logged in to do this. Our intention is not to create a list of 'popular' plants but rather to highlight plants that may be rare and unusual and that have been found to be useful by website users. This hopefully will encourage more people to use plants that they possibly would not have considered before.
Add a comment/link                                         

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

Subject : Leptospermum scoparium  

Links To add a link to another website with useful info add the details here
Name of Site
URL of Site